Jake (not his real name) is a man in my church's Men's Fellowship, and he shared this story today. I had to share it because I felt Jesus was real when he was telling it.
Jake will say about himself that he's not the most eloquent speaker, and many of us would agree with that (sorry Jake, just had to give you that jab!). But today when he was telling this story, there was a particular clearness and confidence that stood out and made me feel like he was getting help in selecting the perfect words. Not sure I'll be able to do him justice in my recollection of his words.
By the way, I asked Jake's permission, and he's OK that I share this, as long as I don't share his name.
"A long time ago now, I got divorced. It was a really bad one. Both of us were in real pain. It was a horrible time and I needed some hope. I stood outside of my trailer and saw a rainbow just at that exact moment when I needed to feel hope, and I felt "That's it! That's Him!"
When He really embraces you, and I mean I felt like the rainbow was a personal hug just for me, then you know there's a new beginning. It made all the difference.
What that taught me was that as long as we stay near Him (have faith that is), He will hold us up. It's been years since that rainbow, and I still feel the same way, and that's why I stay close to Him."
People who have never had one of these 'Jesus moments' may react like "Ah, that's just a bunch of hokum... you're dreaming up some explanation" or "You're making too much of a simple rainbow!"
This is going to be hard to describe, but I'll try. It's not the rainbow. It's not the contrast of the pain and the rainbow. It's not even the combination of the pain and the rainbow and the timing of saying to yourself "I need to feel hope". There's all that plus one more dimension. It's accompanied by a certain feeling inside that's the equivalent to a "wink".
What do I mean by "wink"? It's kind of like this: You mentioned to a neighbor that you are really loaded down with responsibilities this weekend and are dreading raking 10,000 square feet of leaves. Then you take off to do some errands, and when you get back, your leaves are all bagged, and you look quickly over at your neighbor, who is putting up his Christmas lights, and he just smiles and winks and gets back to work. You absolutely know it was him.